Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe Organization and Menu Planning

I have been realizing more and more lately that I love cooking for my family! It brings me such joy to make them happy with the food I prepare. I am constantly looking for new recipes to try. That is actually one of my favorite things to do! The other night I was telling Craig about how much I love to do that, and he kind of snorted-laughed and said, "That sounds so boring!" Well lucky for us he isn't the one doing the cooking!

I wanted to share a great new system that I have come up with. I have recipes galore, and they are on cards, papers, magazine pages, in cookbooks, everywhere! I wanted to come up with something that organized all of our favorite recipes in one place. This is my answer:

I LOVE my little binder! I found it online through Amazon. It has tabs that I have labeled "Breakfast" "Lunch" "Dinner" "Sides" "Breads" "Desserts" etc. When I find a good recipe to try in a magazine I tear it out and put it in another binder that is my "To Try" binder. When I find a recipe online I copy and paste it to a Word document and save it on my computer. Then after we have tried it we determine if it makes the cut or not into the Recipe Saver.

Every Saturday morning is my time to prepare the next week's menu and grocery list, then go do my shopping. I write out the menu on a white board that we have sitting on the kitchen counter. Craig refers to it often throughout the week when he is curious about what's for dinner. I love this routine! It works great for us. I would love to hear what you do! So come on all you "shy commenters" out there...Let me hear from you!


Anonymous said...

I am glad you showed this. I am so bad at recipes and how to organize them... Can you give me some tips and what to do... It seems so overwhelming that I don't even try so my family gets the same old, some old food. Where did you get it, any ideas... TEACH me oh wise one. I only can organize tax papers...

Sarah Lubach said...

Heidi - I love your system! The recipe saver and "to try" binder. . genius! I love to cook, and I am not very organized when it comes to recipes. Thanks for the great tip! I did find one planning tip that works good for us. Once a month, I try to plan menus for two weeks. Then, I simply repeat the plan for the second half of the month. I like this because it minimizes the planning, and nobody minds a repeat during the month. I then usually only have to make one HUGE grocery trip, the weekly ones the rest of the month are just staples. You may really enjoy your weekly planning, though, so this might not be a good fit for you. Great stuff, Chef Heidi. . .keep it coming! xoxo Sarah

Holly said...

A comment for Shelli:
I know exactly what you mean! I am a working mom and don't have an abundance of time either. Thinking about meal planning has been last on my list. Something that has been helpful to our family that might work for you is You can sign up to receive weekly meal plans (super easy recipes and it is only $15.00 for 3 months of plans). They even include a grocery list organized by aisle!! I print all of the meal plans off and put them in a binder. As for my other favorite recipes.....well, those will just have to stay crammed in my recipe box in the cupboard until maybe retirement?! :)
Heidi's sister, Holly

Anonymous said...

Thanks Holly, I will be looking that up tonight after I try to find something to do with stew meat that is in my fridge! THANKS for the help you guys.

Heidi said...

I love hearing from you ladies! Yes, the E-Mealz website is good Shelli. That might be a place to start for you! Sarah - I have found that weekly menu planning keeps me sane!! I can't stand it when the menu gets botched by various things, and sometimes it even does weekly. But that sounds like a good system that you have! I never thought about repeating, great idea! Thanks so much for sharing everyone. Loving your thoughts!